Howard Shore does great work here with his subtle score
Academy Award winner for best picture and screenplay and that—and the acting- are the strengths of the film—I’m not dying to see what McCarthy does next
It does actually break away from McCarthy’s tendencies in terms of themes as auteur from The Station Agent, to The Visitor to Win/Win these are largely fish out of water stories- I guess you could argue that Liev Schrieber as the Jewish lead editor from Miami and Stanley Tucci as the quirky Armenian lawyer are the heroes in Boston—a foreign land- but that’s a stretch
It’s a portrait of Boston- a city- a corrupt machine- religion, money, and politics– the comparisons with All the President’s Men are apt in terms of narrative (the Catholic Church here is Nixon’s executive) but McCarthy is not Pakula from a directorial talent standpoint and very little of this film’s strengths rest in the filmmaking or visuals
The main Spotlight crew of actors is superb- I think Michael Keaton gives the single best performance in the film (riding high in 2014 and 2015 with Birdman the year before—but the entire ensemble should really be applauded- Stanley Tucci is magnificent, Liev Schreiber does his best work, Billy Crudup—as always- we even get a phone/vocal performance from Richard Jenkins who is uncredited (worked with McCarthy in 2007’s The Visitor so probably owed him one)
Rich characterizations, accents and mannerisms
The ending with the phone ringing is a great scene- haunting.